Very rarely have I felt a season concluded in which the word 'bittersweet' could paint the story of how we rounded a largely anticlimactic spell that, on the whole, redefined disappointment. That is 99% bitter with a sprinkle of sweetness on top after Sherwood's sacking. I maintain Tim Sherwood's abrupt arrival was through unravelling a chocolate bar and finding a glistening golden ticket staring at him in the face. The ticket revealed a unique CRN and a bar code that granted exclusive (limited-time) access to the Head Coach position of Tottenham Hotspur. A poison chalice, yet a seat that offers such lucrative wealth it forever remains in demand.
A tenure so brief that all Sherwood seemed to have taken from it was a win percentage and a rife of publicity that, in large, constructed bridges with the media and dismantled any ounce of harmony that existed within the squad. Hold for applause. We quickly became isolated. Hibernating away until the overcast and disappointment had temporarily become dormant once more. The season finished and soon after the clouds departed with Sherwood out of White Hart Lane, allowing the sun, as well as our usual cautious optimism, to re-emerge.
It is a season as typical as this that inherently begs the questions of our expectations as fans. Have our expectations smothered our aspirations to the point where we're suffocating our own realism? You wouldn't bet against it. In truth, this hasn't been the worst season as a Spurs fan, but the feeling is just that. It's the feeling of thorough disappointment. Our heart and soul are placed delicately in the grubby, unforgiving and Stubhub-tattooed hands of a football club that has the capacity to crush them at the sound of a referees whistle. We've qualified for Europe, again, yet it reveals a more disheartening outlook when the path most trodden is one full with fans that do not want it.
Our success is always relative. Achieving 4th position in the league isn't 'success' but is 'relative success'. The money that's succumbed the souls of far too many clubs now dictate that even being in the Premier League is 'success'. It does beg the question though, where do our expectations lye? You look at the league table and argue that there are 7 clubs that will be pursuing the top 4 positions of the league. The strength of the opposition naturally exponentiates every year, excusing United's expected anomaly of a season.
The story of the season said so much more about a few underlying traits of the football club that we want sewn into the DNA. We want to enjoy supporting the Football Club again. It's that word 'enjoyment' that has been so lost in arguments between finances, net spend, league positions, transfers and management that we've forgotten to enjoy having the opportunity to grace the sacred ground and bellow our support at whoever encompasses the shirt.
We want to finish the season with a sense of nostalgia, inherently disappointed that we won't see another game for a few months. We want to be so wrapped up with the club that everything else naturally becomes of second importance. It's difficult to enjoy visiting the ground and watching the side when there remains so much doubt injected into our blood. The doubt has shaped and re-shaped our perception of an unloving club but one we could never outright unlove. The love remains but the enthusiasm sat on a cliff edge, by the end of season it was hanging on for dear life and only the outstretched arm of Pochettino may have reinvigorated it once more.
We'd hit a temporary identity crisis. Temporary being largely the operative word. Our performances have tipped the balance between distinctly monotonous and overwhelmingly flamboyant. A medium between the two would be a welcomed arrival. Preparation and a consistent first eleven will encourage a growing identity we can latch on to. Hopefully the perception of unrest will (again) be buried deep with the memory of Tim Sherwood and his time in charge. In Mauricio Pochettino we may finally have the ingredients to do this but are once more testing an unknown recipe. We can only sit back and ponder as to whether this will finally be our dream dish.